Sunday, December 08, 2013

What Does the Graph Say:Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!

In my 8th grade classes, we have been winding down our astronomy unit. This past week, I challenged students with some graph interpretation. The first activity is one that I think we will revisit, as they really struggled, but the second activity, I think they really excelled. The first activity was called: Where in the World? I modified it only very slightly from how it was presented to me in my IMPACT course, in which our Globe instructor took us through the activity.

This used data from temperatures. I shared a link with students to an online sticky note board. Each table team was assigned two different graphs. The first class period the table teams were assigned two graphs, but in the second class, I assigned each half of the table team a graph. After a few minutes, I had each half talk with the other half for feedback and input. The sticky note board is from Linoit. Students do not have to have an account to access this board. All that I needed to do was to make sure that the public had access to post on the board. The students matched the lettered graph to a numbered location on the world map. Some of the locations are quite close together, so they would be very difficult to tell the difference between the graphs without additional information. There was also information on elevation of the sites. With this information, students may have been able to more clearly figure out which location matched with the right map. Here is the link to one my boards that I used: Where in the World? 

Please keep in mind that we don't necessarily have the correct maps matched up. This first try was really to get them thinking and have a discussion about why it makes sense or doesn't.

The second activity is taken from a GEMS book: Reason for the Seasons. In the past, I've had students graph the data, but we are sort of short on time, and graphing isn't the skill I'm focusing on with the activity. So this year, I marked up a pdf copy (so I could have color). Honestly, I think I'd just create a color graph and scan it in or setup a graph in Google Docs or something before I do that again. Can you say TEDIOUS!!?? Anyway, for this activity, I shared a Google Presentation and had each table team write on white boards the color and the latitude that it matched up with. The showed Daylength vs. Month Here is a link to that presentation: Daylength Graph I was especially proud of how well the students did with the second activity. Almost all of my students, even my very reluctant to do much of anything, really got into figuring out the locations.

Earlier in the week, I had students participate in another white board challenge. This was called What Would Happen If? Students were given a hypothetical situation in their teams and they presented to the class their thoughts based on our learning thus far. Other teams could comment if they agreed or thought there be something different that happened. Here is a link to these situations: What Would Happen If?

What things do you teach during your astronomy units?  How do you use white boards in your classroom?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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